By Thea O’Dell
“Where should I eat today?”
This common question amongst Cal Poly Pomona students can be heard around campus no matter the time of day. CPP has always made it a point to offer students the largest variety of food options it can. Whether it is Mexican cuisine, Chinese cuisine or even something as simple as fruit smoothies, students are sure to find something to satisfy their appetites every day of the week.
Now, a new option is slated to open this month.
CPP is bringing Hibachi-San, a Japanese food concept, to campus. It will be the first university to have one.
The restaurant is part of the Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., which also owns Panda Express and Panda Inn. With only 19 locations covering 11 states, it is still relatively new to the general public but is already gaining rapid popularity.
“Hibachi-San by Panda will provide a new, cutting-edge variety of Asian cuisine,” said Foundation Dining Services Director Aaron Neilson in a press release.
Innovation with food is just the beginning. Besides a tea bar that will serve a variety of fruit teas, milk teas and boba that will ultimately take center stage for the restaurant, the menu will be traditional, elaborate and expansive.
Hibachi-San is aiming to blend traditional Japanese food such as teriyaki, tempura and sushi with much newer, trendy concepts such as poke bowls. These bowls can best be described as build-your-own style with a choice for a base of steamed rice, brown rice, salad or soba noodles and seafood of the customer’s choice, which can range from albacore, octopus, salmon, salmon roe, scallops, shrimp, tuna, spicy tuna or yellowtail.
“Besides the wonderful options that students and faculty alike are going to get to choose from, this tea bar is something so different and unique [that] I know it’s going to draw customers in and keep them there,” said Neilson. “The possibilities are endless with this type of restaurant. It was time for a change ” something fresh and different that will get students excited about their dining choices on campus.”
This change resulted after Kikka Sushi’s contract with the university ended last year. Dining Services opened Bronco Bowl, an Asian-inspired food venue, temporarily in September 2014 in anticipation of something permanent.
Hibachi-San is an appreciated addition to the university, as the choice to bring in a diverse and exciting food option to CPP has been well received with students. The hiring process for the restaurant has already begun, and excitement amongst future employees and students is already abuzz.
Hibachi-San’s parent company is excited to bring the concept to campus.
“As a family-owned company, it is our honor to serve the Cal Poly [Pomona] family our food with passion, service with heart, and ambiance with pride,” said Panda CEO Andrew Cherng in a recent press release for CPP. “Hibachi-San offers our guests a wide variety of options, from healthy to indulgent, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with the university, which is located only miles from where our company started.”
Victoria Kernen / The Poly Post
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